Why People Get Tattoos?

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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to determine why a person gets a tattoo and how society reacts to that person. Through Forest Hill Community High School students will participate in a questionnaire determining age, grade, if they have a tattoo, how many they have if they do, why they got their tattoo, why they didn’t get a tattoo if they don’t have one, and if they regret their tattoo. The questionnaire will be given to one hundred subjects to obtain a range of data. It will be determined through this data why people in the age groups of 14-18 get tattoos along with why they don’t get tattoos. Through research and personal accounts it can be looked at how people may be reacted too when in public depending on the amount of tattoos they have and their age. Society can react in different ways to different people depending mainly on age, if they have tattoos, and the amount of tattoos that they have.

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Why People Get Tattoos and How Society Reacts to Them

Tattoos are a very controversial topic both in families and society it has been the stereotype that if you have tattoos you either come from the wrong side of the tracks or you are a bad person. There are many reasons behind why a person will get a tattoo whether it’s because they thought the design was cool, they wanted to feel the pain that comes with a tattoo, they wanted to cover a previous mark or they got it for a sentimental reason. However, there are also a plethora of reasons behind why a person will not get a tattoo.

History behind stereotype

According to Rees, 2016 in the past tattoos have been associated with social outsiders including pirates, sailors, criminal, and woman of disrepute(held in low self esteem by the public). Tattoos have been given a bad name because of how they have been represented. It was believed that to be bad you had to have tattoos or any types of marking on your body to show that you were rebellious and didn’t by the rules on how to look set by society.

Surveys done by Kang & Jones 2007 both at a micro-level in Texas and a macro-level through the United States (nationally) this stereotype was proven wrong, these surveys showed that most of the tattooed adolescents were academic achievers and had no reported affiliations to gangs. Since the 80s the young have been changing the stereotype of tattoos from being a criminal to being an artist and free thinker.

Why someone gets a tattoo

A person may get a tattoo for multiple reasons including the design they choose appealed to them, the pain that comes with getting the tattoo, to cover a permanent mark made previously or for s entimental reasons. All of those purposes for a tattoo were covered in the research done by myself, yet there are also other reasons not covered by my research including a teenager asserting their independence through their tattoo and gaining greater control over their life. Also adolescents mark their adulthood through their tattoo signifying their divorce or break away from society and its institutions.

  • Design Appeal
  • Artist themself
  • Pain
  • Adrenaline junkie?
  • Cover
  • Stretch marks
  • Scars
  • Sentimental

A reason why a person may get a tattoo is because of what that tattoo represents. The design they get can represent a connection that they share with another person or even how that person impacted their life. Additionally that tattoo design can represent a significant date or occasion to that person.

Relationships.

People may get tattoos to symbolize their relationship with another person like a friend, significant other or a family member. Getting these tattoos may symbolize how they met, feel of each other, or a common interest they have; it strengthens their relationship giving it a permanent sense. This shows that even if they are far from each other they have something to represent their unity, trust and their reliance of one another. An example of why a person would get a tattoo with sentimental ties to relationships is in an article from Kang & Jones 2007 that provides a personal account of a women who got a matching tattoo with her group of childhood friends. This woman and her group of friends got a tattoo of a flower that had been painted all over her elementary school signifying their friendship and how they would always be there for one another.

Celebrities.

In Hollywood as said by Kang & Jones 2007 it became common for celebrities such as actors, artist, musicians and models to obtain tattoos. These were the people in society who many looked up too, having grown up watching them through a television or listening to their music. By some way a certain celebrity has affected a person’s life to where they see to them for strength or when they are in need. That connection that youth make with that celebrity leads to them wanting to be like them to mirror what they do including getting a tattoo. Because so many youth were inspired to get a tattoo through what the celebrity did something was created and that was the supermarket era, this is where there was a great increase in demand for tattoos making them easily available and the customers were able to choose a design of their making.

Occasion.

Special occasions or dates hold a great deal of sentimentality for people. Days like a birthday, death, or wedding are sometimes reason enough for a person to get a tattoo. Landmarks in a person’s life show just how much that person has grown and people like to commemorate those times where they have achieved something great or where they defied the odds. An example of this would be a death of a close friend or family member, it is very common for someone to get a tattoo of a date or a persons face to celebrate their death in their own way that’s close to them. Also an occasion that a person gives reason to getting a tattoo is when they reach independence either from their family or institution. This is how youth set their independence like when getting an apartment for the first time or setting off to live on their own they may get a tattoo to mark the day as stated by Kang & Jone 2007. While the tattoo may not be a literal day of when the occasion occured it could be an image that hold great importance to them that they got on that day.

Resistance.

As mentioned in Kang & Jones 2007 tattoos represented something more to women, they meant that women wouldn’t sit and be quite it was their way of rebelling. Also getting a tattoo allowed women like housewives to be able to define themselves in ways other than staying home and to challenge their role in society. Tattoos are a way for women to gain back control over their body.

Why someone doesn’t get a tattoo

Getting a tattoo is not something every person has the idea of doing and this is for a number of reasons. Including it is against their religion, they don’t have the parental consent, they are scared of needles, they don’t have the money for a tattoo, or that is just something that they don’t want.

Religious

Many religions are against the act of permanently marking your body for it means that that person is marking their body which is a temple made by their God. It is greatly believed in the religious community that if you get a tattoo you are going to hell. However, there are also religions where it is customary to get a tattoo whether to represent your social or political standing or what clan/tribe you belong to. (find examples)

Parental Consent

With the age group of this research being from 14-18 years old it is most common that since the subject is under age they need to have parental consent if they are to get a tattoo legally in the United States.

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Why People Get Tattoos?. (2019, Apr 26). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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